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Trying to pinpoint problem

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July 26, 2010 5:52:11 PM

A little history. I was gone for 5 months, computer was working fine before I left. Came back and first thing I noticed was that it was slow. There were a couple of people using it while I was gone. So I went through and cleaned it out and got it somewhat back to speed. I did notice that even still it was not running normally. I bought a zalman cooler for my q6600 and a 5850 to upgrade my 8800gt. Installed both, overclocked the 6600 to 3.0ghz. Ran it like this for about 2 weeks. Temps were fine, nothing out of the ordinary. I'm pretty sure my overclocking did not mess anything up because it was acting strange before. Anyways here is what I am dealing with.

-Sometimes it runs completely fine. I can play games, alt tab out and do other things, everything will be nice. Then I go to restart, it hangs on the motherboard screen. I try to press Del to get to the BIOS and it does nothing most times. Some times it will go to bios but will be unresponsive, when it finally does do something it uncontrollably scrolls through the options and I cannot stop it, have to reset. Sometimes it hangs on the motherboard screen and will not do anything so I have to reset. Strange thing is sometimes it will load up perfectly fine and only stay on the gigabyte screen for a couple seconds.

-I go to load a game sometimes and it will not load. Just goes back to windows.

-Did some check disks and they go fine until the latter portion and it will take 2 hours to complete.

-Did a memtest as I thought it might be the memory. Got an error so I pulled all but one dimm out. Ran test again, was good. Put one more in, ran test again, was good. So I played around with games, alt tabbing out to see how it was running, all seemed to be better despite the fact I was running on 2gb rather than 4gb. Was very pleased as I thought all I had to do was buy new memory to solve the problem. Well, restarted, it hung on the gigabyte screen for 2-3min before finally loading. Then got into windows, tried to open up a game and it took forever and finally canceled and went back to windows.

I am about out of things I know to try. I just spend 300 on the 5850 and 40 on the zalman so I really do not want to just go out and spend 100 on ram and 200 on a motherboard just to see if it works. If I do that I might as well have went out and built a new computer. Anyone have any ideas on how I can pinpoint the problem? Oh, when I overclocked the q6600 the temps never got about 65 degrees, so I am pretty sure I did not fry anything. And for the past two weeks I have set it back to 2.4ghz just because I dont feel the need to overclock when I have a serious problem with something else.

More about : pinpoint problem

July 26, 2010 9:24:32 PM

seems there's a lot of issues. overclocking definately didn't help the situation. The first thing that comes to my mind is a problem with your HD, or possibly a bug somewhere in your Operating system or bios. Very odd problems.

Have you tried a different sata port for your hard drive? i've had issues similar to this and the port i was using was messed up. Got lucky and simply switching the sata port resolved the issue for me. That's all I can recommend.
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July 27, 2010 7:35:51 AM

Hmm, I will give that a try. I also failed to mention I get BSOD's as well. I know when I went from the 5850 from the 8800gt I did not do a driver cleaning program or anything. I just assumed going under remove programs would be fine. I will do a reinstall of drivers and run a cleaning program, think that is a possibility? I am pretty sure I do not have a virus as I am very careful with what web sites I visit. I run AVG free and Spybot search and destroy. And do daily scans. I do believe I still have at least one bad stick of ram because memtest gave me an error with a certain one in it that I could not recreate with it removed.

If the SATA does not fix it and clean install of ATI drivers does not fix it what would be the next step you would take? I thought it was the hard drive originally but I would hate to have to start from scratch if I did not have to. Should I just take it to a computer repair shop and have them diagnose it? I'm not terrible with computers but with a strange problem like this I really have no clue. Any sort of programs I could run or things I can do to locate the problem before I go spending money on things I do not need to?
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a c 156 V Motherboard
July 27, 2010 1:54:29 PM

If you have any stability problems, fix them first before trying to overclock.
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July 27, 2010 2:23:44 PM

jsc said:
If you have any stability problems, fix them first before trying to overclock.


I said I got it somewhat fixed. I thought at the time I did have it fixed because there were no crashes. Only way I know that it was not fixed is that once I pulled the 2gb of memory out it ran faster. So I probably had a back stick of ram before I overclocked, but the crashes and stuff I'm experiencing now are unrelated to the memory.

Not trying to get too defensive but just trying to clear things up. I'm pretty cautious with computers. I actually installed the cooler first, ran it for a while to make sure it was seated well, then installed the 5850 and ran it for a couple of days. Then I got brave enough to overclock afterwards.
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a b V Motherboard
July 27, 2010 3:00:12 PM

I would also suggest getting out the Windows INstallation disk and running a REPAIR Install (from the second option page not the REPAIR CONSOLE) - That will do a rescan of the system and delete\install the proper drivers for the system components - since you mention it taking a long time at the BIOS screen it is possible some of the drivers have become corrupt or the system is using the wrong ones and something is conflicting so a Repair install may sort things out.

Also go into the BIOS and check all of the settings (might be that the Defaults got loaded at some point so the settings are wrong somewhere (check the RAM Voltage, Speed, Timings and remove any OC settings so that you can get it stable first.) - Another thing to keep in mind with the newer video cards the DDR memory has error checking that will have the card resend data that has an error so if OCIng the memory on the video card it can actually cause slower performance if you push it too far (the system will spend alot of time resending info that contains errors and yield slower actual throughput (instead of just displaying artifacts like older DDR memory did !)
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July 27, 2010 4:10:07 PM

Thanks for that suggestion. Will definately try that as I believe that is the next step. I have to go to bed so will have to wait until I wake up before work. But here are a couple other things I noticed today that I can add for information.

I did the driver sweep and got rid of Nvidia and ATI everything. Then reinstalled ATI drivers. Upon the reboot after installing the ATI drivers it hung on the shutting down screen for almost 10 minutes. It finally did shut down. When it tried to restart it got stuck on the splash screen of course :(  .

One other thing that I noticed that might not be related at least I hope it is not. When it was stuck on the splash screen I kept hearing a crackling noise, was very faint. So I tracked down the source and it was coming from the electrical outlet. I immediately unplugged the surge protector and tried it in another outlet and did not hear the same noise, but I have not heard it before so I'm not sure if it was the outlet or something in the computer causing it.

I will try your suggestions when I wake up though, thanks.

edit- have not overclocked the video card at this point
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August 16, 2010 4:04:30 AM

If you're running vista and installed, or have Nvidia onboard you'll have to (start menu msconfig) to shut off anything by nvidia. Vista will recognize the drivers and you should shut em off if you're running an ATI card. Crackling noises are usually the hard drive moving quickly, jumping around.

I think you've got dead spots in your HD due to either a lightning strike when you were away (happened to me) or your roommate getting pissed off at a game and pulling the plug (if your PSU is cheap it'll do that).

Find out if that's the issue first, THEN punch your roommate.
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